It isn’t the best of times when teams stay mum about their thoughts regarding the new cars. A few fans and publications were certainly not impressed with Ferrari’s media blackout. But their prospects made rounds around the paddock with a new Mercedes member – Niki Lauda, this time praising Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel’s mid-day press address specifically included an debunking of all the whispers around, insisting they still have a lot of work ahead and also commenting on Mercedes’ traditional attempts to remain coy during pre-season tests. There are several questions yet to be answered with regards to pecking order and engine modes, which unfortunately, will be unanswered till we get to the first qualifying session of the official season.
Here is the summary of Day 3 of the final pre-season test in Barcelona.
1.The penultimate morning of the pre-season tests at Barcelona kicked off with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel setting the fastest time of the pre-season tests on a set of ultra soft tires. He was the first driver of the day to break the 1:20s barrier on Thursday with a 1:19:341 on softs before he lowered it further on a set of ultra softs.
2. Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes finished right behind Vettel by posting a lap time 3 tenths down on Vettels with the same tires late in the session.
3. Esteban Ocon showed surprising pace in the Force India by lapping in the 1m 20s’s. Although the French driver wasn’t on the same programme, this is impressive coming from the team.
4. Daniil Kvyat came in at P4 towards the end on a set of super soft tires. This was ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who was 1.8s off on the soft tires.
5. Marcus Ericcson in the Sauber completed a 88 laps in the first session – more than any driver on the grid alongside Lance Stroll in the Williams who also completed 85, without challenging the top runners.
1. Sebastian Vettel’s lap time went unbeaten till the end of the day. The German driver also managed to drive 156 laps on his final day of testing – together completing 324 laps in 2 days combined.
2. After morning nightmares for McLaren Honda, Stoffel Vandoorne managed to get his program going by completing 48 laps. One would say it is an improvement from the first testing week, but bear in mind that McLaren have already used 6 power units the last 7 days of testing whereas the FIA allocates only 4 for a season of 20 races!
3. The Red Bull Racing team stuck to their plan to continue to focus on the longer stints which included a race simulation. This put Daniel Ricciardo in P6, but with 128 laps under his belt.
4. Nico Hulkenberg was ideally the man to fill in for Jolyon Palmer in the afternoon, however, the German never made it on to track because Renault hadn’t gotten on top of its reliability issues that haunted their morning session.
5. Amongst the plethora of red flags during the day, Daniil Kvyat was one among them. However, the STR12 continued to run – allowing the 22 year old to complete 94 laps.
More to follow on the final day of the final test!